The Face of Kindness

The Face of Kindness

A mother and her child bring roses to an elderly woman living alone in a city apartment. They could have done other things! A trip to the park? A play date? Taking in a movie? Instead, they've brought the gift of attention to an elderly woman. Is she related to them? Perhaps. But it doesn't matter who she is. We are all family in a shrinking world. We must learn to treat each other gently.

The visitors also receive a gift. As James Barrie famously said, "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." Grandma's shining face lifts their hearts along with hers. And though limited by age and infirmity, she still has lessons to impart. Her contented cat and thriving plant show her care for something beside herself. Kindness is a practice we learn best by example.

Kindness is at the core of many faith practices. St. Paul, for example, described love as "patient and kind." The Talmud considers that "deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments." The Islamic view of kindness is that it "is half of life." Buddhism translates "metta" as "one of the 10 Perfections." The Dalai Lama simply says, "My religion is kindness."

Does someone need a kindness from you today? Do it! As the little girl in our image has learned, "A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives roses." (Chinese Proverb)

And yes, in case you are wondering, this image was inspired by Oprah Winfrey who has extended the idea of kindness to others in an unprecedented way.

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